Dr. Rao is an accomplished, board-certified cardiac electrophysiologist who previously spent 17 years in clinical practice caring for heart failure patients, with a focus on interventional therapies. Dr. Rao received his cardiology training at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in Torrance, Calif., and the Hospital of the Good Samaritan in Los Angeles after completing a residency at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. He earned his medical degree at Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia, after completing an undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania.
“I have known Dr. Rao for nearly 20 years. He is a talented physician, with great skill in invasive electrophysiology and a keen interest in the development of new invasive cardiology devices,” said David Cannom, M.D., professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, former president of NASPE and director of cardiology at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles. “This is a perfect evolution for this talented young man.”
“I am delighted to join the leadership team at Impulse Dynamics and help contribute to the company’s mission to transform how heart failure is treated,” said Dr. Rao. “Having cared for thousands of patients firsthand for nearly two decades, I’ve seen the devastating burden of this condition on patients and their families. These patients have limited therapeutic options, but cardiac contractility modulation, or CCM therapy, can have a profound impact on their quality of life and is a reason for many of them to feel hopeful again.”
CCM therapy, delivered by the Optimizer Smart system, is a breakthrough heart failure treatment that is proven to improve quality of life for heart failure patients.1 CCM therapy sends precisely timed electrical pulses to the heart during the absolute refractory period of the beating cycle, just after the heart contracts. CCM therapy is specifically designed to improve systolic contraction in an effort to deliver more oxygen-rich blood to the body. Optimizer Smart was granted Breakthrough Device designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is the first and only FDA-approved device in the United States or elsewhere for the delivery of CCM therapy.
“We are thrilled to welcome Dr. Rao to the Impulse Dynamics team,” said Simos Kedikoglou, M.D., CEO of Impulse Dynamics. “He is an outstanding leader in the cardiology community and will play an instrumental role in helping us establish CCM therapy as a new standard of care for treating heart failure."
CCM therapy may be an appropriate treatment option for approximately 70 percent of NYHA Class III heart failure patients who remain symptomatic despite guideline-directed medical therapy.2
Heart failure, a condition in which the heart slowly weakens and is not able to adequately supply oxygen-rich blood, affects an estimated 6.5 million Americans and nearly 25 million people worldwide.3 Heart failure patients experience debilitating symptoms, including breathlessness, fatigue, confusion and swelling in the legs that make everyday activities challenging and significantly diminish their quality of life. Nearly 50 percent of people with heart failure die within five years of being diagnosed. The annual cost for healthcare services, medications and lost working days is estimated to be nearly $56 billion in the United States alone.4
1 Abraham WT, Kuck KH, Goldsmith RL, et al. A randomized controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of cardiac contractility modulation. JACC Heart Failure. 6(10), 874-883 (2018).
2 Campbell CM, Kahwash R, & Abraham WT. Optimizer Smart in the treatment of moderate-to-severe chronic heart failure. FutureCardiol. 16(1), 13–25 (2020)
3 Benjamin E.J., Blaha M.J., Chiuve S.E., et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2017 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2017; 135: pp. e146-e603
4 Heidenreich PA, Trogdon JG, Khavjou OA, Butler J, Dracup K, Ezekowitz MD, et al. Forecasting the future of cardiovascular disease in the United States: a policy statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2011;123(8):933–44.